We live in an apartment block that contains 8 apartments. There are 3 on the ground floor, 3 on the first floor and 2 on the second floor. We are on the second floor. It’s a nice flat, very homely and just right for us. After all, there are only 2 of us, and we don’t need THAT much sq footage to live in.
We only really know 1 of our neighbours, the rest we see occasionally and say hello etc, but that’s it. The neighbours we know live across the hall from us. They have a toddler and a baby, there are Saturday mornings where I can hear kids TV playing through the wall and small excited screams. Turns out Flams went to school with the guy across the hall. So it’s pretty cool.
A while after we moved in (we moved in March) we noticed a horrible smell in the building. It was a mixture of sewage/stale urine/unwashed human. It was awful. We soon discovered where this awful stench was coming from. It was one of our neighbours. Oh.My.GOD. It was so bad we held our breath when we entered/exited the building. Ever tried to hold your breath whilst rushing up two flights of stairs? It is HARD. Going down the stairs, not so much. Sometimes the stench isn’t too bad, but other times it is unbearable! Both myself and the neighbour across the hall from me often Fabreeze the hall and spray air fresheners and deodorisers.
For those who read my twitter stream, you will see I’ve previously spoken about Dirty Santa. This is what I call this neighbour. Mainly because that is what he looks like. Imagine Santa Clause, big round belly, bushy beard, glasses. Now imagine that, but in a dirty, stained, smelly red t-shirt, dirty stained (used to be beige but is now brown/black) cargo pants. That is my neighbour. I’d put him in his 60s.
A few weeks ago I noticed that the smell was getting stronger, so I knocked on my neighbours door and asked her if she’d seen the guy. She hadn’t. My head suddenly filled of images of this guy lying dead in his apartment. I didn’t have a clue what to do. I mean, you can’t just call the police and say I think my neighbours dead, can you?
So I left it. Besides I didn’t even know exactly what apartment he lived in.
Recently the smell has become even more offensive. I didn’t think it was possible, considering that it’s cold out, and usually bad smells aren’t as prominent in the cold, as opposed to the simmering heat in the summer. I was WRONG.
Again, no one has seen this guy, in fact no one has seen this guy since a few weeks ago. I can’t ignore it. What if he IS dead? Oh God. What if Dirty Santa is decomposing and that’s what we’ve all been breathing in.
I called our Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, left a message explaining my concerns and asked them to call me.
I called the local Adult Social Services Team, voiced my concerns, and I took a random guess at the apartment number. Turns out I got it right, and the guy is known to them and has a social worker. I called the social worker and left a message for him to call me.
After I did all of this (and put a complaint into the building management about the smell) I started to feel a bit guilty. This guy clearly needs help. Where are his family or friends? How is it that a guy in his 60s, in dire need of clean clothes and a good scrub has been left like this for so long? We have lived there since March, which is 8 months. For all we know it’s been going on a lot longer than that. The guy has a social worker, for how long I’ve no idea, but surely he should be getting some sort of help? Maybe he is? Is it enough help?
Perhaps he has family and friends and has shunned their help. Who knows!?
But I find it incredibly sad that this guy is living in such a state. I can’t ever imagine having a grand-parent or parent living like that. I wouldn’t allow it.
Was I right to interfere? Maybe not, Maybe so, but I can’t stand by and not do something.
Also, I seriously hope he’s not dead. I should have made those calls weeks ago.
Bad MrsFlams, no cookie.
Social worker called me back.
Turns out the guy died and his body was found 2 weeks ago.
I knew I should have called. I knew it!
RIP Dirty Santa.